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Harley Quinn(pop culture)
Harley Quinn, the breakaway character from Batman: The Animated Series (1992–1997), is at heart just a girl who's head over heels for a guy— but in Harley's case, she's “hopelessly in love with a murderous psychopathic clown”: the Joker. She wasn't always a jester-clad, chalk-faced, superhumanly agile moll. Behind the makeup is— actually, was, since her original identity has been lost to her certifiable lunacy—Dr. Harleen Quinzel, a psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum for the Criminally Insane, where Gotham City's malicious madmen are penned and padded-celled after being apprehended by Batman. Quinzel studied the incarcerated Joker's psychotic mind, and was mesmerized by his homicidal tendencies and warped sense of humor. After lending the Joker a helping hand in escaping Arkham, she next lent him her heart, joining her “Puddin'” as the pining princess of plunder, Harley Quinn. You can't blame a girl for falling for the Joker's seductive smile and wicked wit; as Harley says of “Mr. J,” in the voice of actress Arleen Sorkin, “Gee, boss, you really know how to put the fun in funeral.” “Originally, Harley was only supposed to be in one episode,” remarked Batman: The Animated Series (BTAS) writer Paul Dini in a 1994 Cinefantastique interview, “but she was very appealing and she added this other dimension to the Joker; most of his henchpeople are pretty expendable.” Not that the mercurial Clown Prince of Crime hasn't tried to dump her. He's given her the slip, and the slap, and even strapped her to a rocket for a “final” send-off, but she keeps returning for more—or he calls her back (but usually for an ulterior motive), making the Joker and Harley Quinn the ultimate codependent supervillain couple. After her intended one-time outing in BTAS's episode seven, “Joker's Favor” (original airdate: September 11, 1992), Harley kept popping up on the show with and without Mr. J, and has followed him through a variety of subsequent animated series: Superman (1996–2000), The Adventures of Batman & Robin (1997–1999), Static Shock! (2000–2004), and Justice League (2001–2004), as well as the made-for-video animated movie Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (2000). Harley even rode the Clown Prince of Crime's purple coattails into comic books, first in DC Comics' BTAS tie-ins written and drawn in the “animated” style and later in the darker “real” DC Universe, beginning with the 1999 one-shot Batman: Harley Quinn, then continuing with her own monthly series Harley Quinn, which ran 38 issues from 2000 through 2004. Harley enjoys a Thelma and Louise–like friendship with fellow Bat-rogue Poison Ivy, from whom she received an herbal application that makes her immune to toxins, and adores her pet hyenas, which she affectionately calls her “babies.” She has been the subject of action figures, statues, and even a 2005 limited edition (1,007 produced) hand-painted marionette retailing at $290.95! Not bad for a downhome gal with a wild streak (“Trouble? Don't mind if I do!”) and a dream of one day settling down and raising (demented) kids with her Puddin'. Mia Sara played Dr. Harleen Quinzel in the live-action TV series Birds of Prey (2002–2003). In the concluding moments of season one's final episode she appeared in a modified Harley Quinn costume, but the series' cancellation stalled Sara's Harley.
The Supervillain Book: The Evil Side of Comics and Hollywood © 2006 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.